M. [Luc-Vincent] Thiéry. Guide des amateurs et des étrangers voyageurs à Paris. Paris, 1787, vol. 1, pp. 28–29, describes the château de Bagatelle and states that the bathing room was ornamented with mirrors and with six charming pictures painted by M. Robert.
Friedrich Gilly. Description de Bagatelle. 1797 [published by Edgar Wedepohl in L'Oeil, no. 126, 1965, p. 22], describes the château and mentions the Robert paintings.
Annonces, affiches et avis divers 93 (April 2, 1808), p. 1478 [see Ref. Baillio 1995], preview the forthcoming sale of these works, "six tableaux de place, peints par Hubert Robert représentant des Monuments d'Italie".
Charles Yriarte. "Mémoires de Bagatelle, I." La revue de Paris (July 1, 1903), pp. 21, 33, states that Robert was paid 500 livres for each of the six; mentions that by 1784 the pictures, suffering from dampness, were restored by the artist for 500 livres; notes that none of them remain in the pavilion but adds that they appear in the 1797 inventory where they are described as partly damaged by humidity.
Henri-Gaston Duchesne. Le château de Bagatelle (1715–1908). Paris, 1909, pp. 142, 155, 160, quotes Yriarte, but also cites a document of May 18, 1784 in which only the small paintings to the right and left of the fireplace are mentioned as requiring restoration; notes that the six damaged paintings were left in situ when Bagatelle was leased to entrepreneurs in the year V [1796–97].
L. de Quellern. Le château de Bagatelle. Paris, 1909, pp. 45–46, publishes the document of 1784.
"Nouvelles." Chronique des arts et de la curiosité, supplément à la Gazette des beaux-arts no. 31 (October 7, 1911), p. 242, announces rediscovery of the six panels by M. Forestier, conservator of the Bois de Boulogne; notes that paintings are signed and bear dates of 1777 and 1784; states that they were brought to Malmaison and subsequently given by Empress Josephine to her physician; adds that he left them to his family, who brought them to the South of France.
D. F[riedley]. "Decorative Panels by Hubert Robert." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 7 (July 1912), pp. 130–31, announces J. Pierpont Morgan's loan of the paintings to the Museum.
Paris Letter [from unknown periodical]. 1917? [in typescript in MMA Archives, under Morgan, J. P., 1st, M. 8224, Loans - Paintings and Miniatures, Old Master Drawings: "Mystery of the Panels, Paris Letter," incorrectly as in American Art News, Dec. 29, 1917], note that there were originally eight compositions of this kind that the Empress Eugénie gave to her physician; that they were sold to Comte Flaux, and later entered the collection of De Verneuil, head of the Paris syndicate of official "agents de change"; wonder where the remaining two are since six were sold about ten years before to Morgan for "something like $200,000".
J.C.N. Forestier Librairie agricole de la maison rustique. Bagatelle et ses jardins. Paris, 1922?, pp. 43–44.
P[reston]. R[emington]. "Six Paintings by Hubert Robert." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 19 (January 1924), pp. 9–10, dates them 1777; suggests that the two restored works were the Cave (17.190.25) and the Swing (17.190.27); says all six were taken to Malmaison between 1806 and 1810 and were given by Josephine to her physician.
Jean Stern. A l'ombre de Sophie Arnould: Francois-Joseph Belanger. Paris, 1930, vol. 1, p. 70.
Georges Pascal. Histoire du château de Bagatelle. Paris, 1938, p. 34, notes that copies have replaced the Robert originals at Bagatelle.
Louis Hautecœur. "Seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle: Le style Louis XVI, 1750–1792." Histoire de l'architecture classique en France. 4, Paris, 1952, p. 493.
Ferdinand Boyer. "Jean-Joseph de Laborde protecteur de F.-X. Fabre et sa collection confisquée en 1794." Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art Français (1954), p. 221 n. 1.
Robert Joffet. Bagatelle: Histoire et guide. Paris, 1954, pp. 16, 27–28, states that Napoleon had the six panels taken from Bagatelle to Malmaison in 1810 and that Josephine gave them to her doctor who sold them to the comte de Flaux.
Charles Sterling. "XV–XVIII Centuries." The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of French Paintings. 1, Cambridge, Mass., 1955, pp. 163–64, ill. p. 162, accepts the tradition that the paintings were at Malmaison; observes that Robert was recalled to Bagatelle in 1784 to restore the two narrow panels at either side of the fireplace, which had been damaged by dampness, and assumes that at that time the artist must have added the signature and date 1784 to this picture; notes that the form of the cave is thought to have been inspired by the grotto at Pozzuoli, near Naples, which Robert visited in 1759–60.
Barbara Scott. "Bagatelle: Folie of the comte d'Artois." Apollo (June 1972), pp. 481, 485 n. 8.
Béatrice de Andia et al. De Bagatelle à Monceau, 1778-1978: Les folies au XVIIIe siècle à Paris. Exh. cat., Musée Carnavalet. Paris, 1978–79, p. 16, accepts the tradition that the six paintings were once at the Malmaison.
Gérard Hubert. Letter to Dean Walker. April 28, 1980, says there is no trace of the six panels having ever been in Josephine's collection; identifies her physician as Horeau; concludes that if the paintings belonged to her they were in her possession for only a short time.
Jean de Cayeux. "Jeux d'eau pour une salle de bains." L'Objet d'art 8 (June 1988), pp. 63–66, 68, ill. (color, overall and detail)
, observes that there is no evidence of damage or repair in this painting that would support Sterling's view; suggests that "The Bathing Pool" and "Wandering Minstrels" were installed at Bagatelle shortly before or shortly after the 1779 Salon, and that the narrower panels, including this one, were not completed until 1784.
Annie Jacques Jean-Pierre Mouilleseaux in La Folie d'Artois. Exh. cat., château de Bagatelle, Paris. n.p., , pp. 42–43, fig. 27 (color).
Paul Bernard Wilson. "Profiles in Royalty: Hubert Robert's 'The Mouth of a Cave' and a Concealed Iconography of Louis XVI." Album Amicorum Kenneth C. Lindsay: Essays on Art and Literature. Binghamton, 1990, pp. 183–201, fig. 1.
Joseph Baillio. "Hubert Robert's Decorations for the Château de Bagatelle." Metropolitan Museum Journal 27 (1992), pp. 149, 156–57, 161, 169, 171–73, 176–78, 182 nn. 38–39, 51, 53–54, fig. 34, with the exception of this canvas, dates the Bagatelle series 1777–79; notes that the date 1784 on this picture, five years after the commission was completed and payment was made to the artist, may be explained by the fact that by 1783 Robert had been asked to "redo" the panels flanking the mantelpiece, as these had incurred harm from dampness; suggests that the damaged paintings might be two now-lost pendants owned by the comte d'Artois that were shown at the Salon of 1779, and that these were in such poor condition that they had to be replaced ("such a hypothesis would mean that 'The Mouth of a Cave' was actually painted in 1784, and this would account for its pristine, apparently unrestored condition").
Joseph Baillio. "Addendum to 'Hubert Robert's Decorations for the Château de Bagatelle'." Metropolitan Museum Journal 30 (1995), p. 103, notes that these paintings and Callet's six for the boudoirs of Bagatelle were auctioned in Paris on April 4, 1808 and purchased "by a certain Brunot".
Paula Rae Radisich. Hubert Robert: Painted Spaces of the Enlightenment. Cambridge, 1998, pp. 78–79, 83, 85–90, 94–96, 171–72 nn. 25, 29, p. 174 n. 42, p. 176 n. 56, fig. 40.
Katie Scott. "Book Reviews. Hubert Robert: Painted Spaces of the Enlightenment." Burlington Magazine 141 (November 1999), p. 690.
Jean Strouse. Morgan: American Financier. New York, 1999, p. 559, briefly mentions our Bagatelle paintings (17.190.25–30).
Jean Strouse. "J. Pierpont Morgan, Financier and Collector." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Winter 2000), p. 27.